The towing tug Thomas Dann caught fire on several nautical miles off Marineland, Florida. The tug was towing a barge in convoy, when the engine room started smoking and went in flames. The six crew were unable to get control of the fire and abandoned the tug into a life raft and later were rescued by the local fishermen. The fire on board caused two explosions of the fuel tanks, which were seen from the shore. At the scene of the accident were dispatched tugs and rescue boats of the US Coast Guard, which started savage operation. The barge was delinked from the troubled tug and firefighters extinguished the flames within several hours.
The local authorities and coast guard will start investigation for the root cause of the fire. The ship will be towed to Marineland for repairs and inspection, but just after safety is ensured.
The tugboat Thomas Dann (IMO: 7621786) was en route from Tampa, operating in the Gulf of Mexico, various ports along the Caribbean coasts, and the Mississippi River. The boat is owned and operated by Dann Ocean Towing of Tampa. The towing tug Thomas Dann has overall length of 31.00 m, moulded beam of 9.00 m and maximum draft of 2.50 m. The deadweight of the towing vessel is 186 DWT and the gross tonnage is 301 GRT.